With Bernadette Peters and cupcakes, Boston Pops start celebration of Keith Lockhart’s 20th anniversary

Kira Peterson, Raider Times

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The delightful celebration of Keith Lockhart’s 20th anniversary as conductor of the Boston Pops on May 6, 2015, featured everything from Sinatra to Rossini to a special guest performance by beautiful Broadway sensation Bernadette Peters.

The Pops started the night off boisterously with Williams’s “Sound the Bells” and followed with “The Barber of Seville” overture, Enescu’s “Rumanian Rhapsody,” and a wonderful collection of arrangements tipping the hat to Sinatra to celebrate what would have been the 100th year of his life.

For the second half of the night, the audience had been handed the baton, so to speak, and given the power to choose the music Peters would sing via online poll.

Bernadette Peters (left) helps Keith Lockhart celebrate his 20th year conducting the Boston Pops during a concert at Symphony Hall in Boston on Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

Raider Times photo / Winslow Townson
Bernadette Peters (left) helps Keith Lockhart celebrate his 20th year conducting the Boston Pops during a concert at Symphony Hall in Boston on Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

The soloist pulled off an incredible entrance, stunning the audience with her sparkling floor-length gown. She immediately singled out a lucky front-row audience member, who was clearly on cloud nine, and jumped into a fabulously brassy, “Let Me Entertain You,” addressed solely to him for the first few lines.

From her dynamic opening number, she quickly switched to solemn ballad mode for a chillingly beautiful performance of Sondheim’s “No One Is Alone.”

For the rest of the night, she pulled from various shows in her repertoire, including “Follies” and “A Little Night Music”. She mounted the grand piano for a sexy rendition of Peggy Lee’s “Fever” and wandered into the audience for the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, “There Is Nothing Like A Dame.”

The playful dynamic between Peters and Lockhart, who have worked together many times before, was immediately evident; While Peters sang, she waltzed over to where Lockhart stood conducting and leaned on his shoulder, and they filled the space between numbers with joking banter and dialogue.

Keith Lockhart (right) begins his 20th year conducting the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall in Boston on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, a concert that featured singer Bernadette Peters.

Raider Times photo / Winslow Townson
Keith Lockhart (right) begins his 20th year conducting the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall in Boston on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, a concert that featured singer Bernadette Peters.

The playfulness even extended to the instrumentalists. To the delight of the audience, Lockhart and his compatriots burst out in a very silly rendition of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” in which the lower-range instruments stepped forward into the spotlight, and the whole wind section sang and clapped along.

An abundance of blue-and-white balloons rained down from the ceiling as the Pops ended the concert with a crowd favorite, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

Neither Bernadette nor the Pops left anything to be desired of their performances … even cupcakes!

At the close of the concert, audience members exited into the hallways to find tables of red velvet and vanilla treats sprawled in front of them, topped with blue frosting for a hint of patriotic flavor, of course.

The incredible festive energy and musical excellence displayed by Peters, Lockhart, and the Pops can best be summed up by a candid quote from the conductor himself: “If I could have Bernadette Peters open every season, I would.”

–May 7, 2015–

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